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April Key Findings: 2013

Email Marketing Still Part of the Mix

Email-MarketingThink email marketing has gone the way of snail mail and the typewriter? Think again! According to the 2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Report based on data collected from 1,000 companies, more than 1 billion emails and 500,000 decision-maker conversations, email marketing continues to prove its worth through better delivery practices, more advanced design and strategic integration with other channels. Most marketers in the survey (60%) say email produces ROI (return on investment) with regard to budgets, while 32% believe it will eventually. Those surveyed cited the growth of HTML-5 video, triggered email strategies and better email implementation into mobile platforms to be helpful in improving email marketing effectiveness. Most organizations of those surveyed (64%) perceive email marketing’s ROI to be valid; compared to websites, 69%, social media marketing, 63% and SEO, 58%. One of the biggest challenges with email marketing is the pervasiveness of mobile smartphones and tablets, and the growing difficulty of building email lists. Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed say their lists are growing, albeit slowly for most (50%), while 26% say their lists are holding steady and 6% are seeing lists shrink. Marketers are finding success with email by integrating the tactic with other channels: websites 75%; social media 56%; events, tradeshows and webinars 40%; blogs 35%; SEO 31% and direct mail 29%. While 21% of those surveyed say they are integrating email with mobile strategies, 58% say they are not designing emails to render differently on mobile devices, which could be a problem for audiences who often struggle to read emails not optimized for such devices. (

Marketers Adjusting Social Media Budgets

social-media-budgetIf you’re banking on using yesterday’s branding strategies and tactics, you’re likely to go broke! When it comes to marketing, what’s past is past and should stay there. So, just where are marketers headed in the near future with more of their social media dollars? Of the 3,800 marketers asked this question by, the top five list included YouTube/Video (76%), Facebook (72%), Twitter (69%), Blogs (68%) and Google+ (67%).  A whopping 75% said they have no plans to use “daily deals,” or reduce their social media efforts. For the second year in a row, YouTube/video marketing topped this list. Businesses with 26-999 employees see this as a key growth area with at least 80% responding positively in the survey. Another top choice is Facebook, where 92% of marketers are using the social media tools and 72% plan to increase their activities. Enterprise-level businesses and small businesses with 25 – 99 employees are most likely to increase their activities on Twitter. Blogs are another strong area of focus for social media marketers where the self-employed are more likely to step up their blogging with 76% increased activity. LinkedIn came in #6 on the list with 66% planning to increase activities here; B2B companies (76%) are significantly more likely to increase activities versus 55% of B2C. Languishing toward the bottom of the social media activity list likely to see more marketing dollars were photo sharing sites (Pinterest, Instagram and Flickr) at 38%, forums (34%), social bookmarking (31%), geo-location (23%) and daily deals (12%). However, in the fast-paced world of digital marketing, things can change in a heartbeat. So, stay tuned! (

Solar Lessons from Hurricane Sandy

hurricaneTop weather forecasters predict an above-average 2013 Atlantic hurricane season (June 1 – November 30) and tell us that at least 18 tropical storms will form this year, of which nine will be hurricanes. The annual predictions by meteorologists at Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project warn that the tropical Atlantic basin has “anomalously warmed over the past several months,” which indicates a 72% chance of a major hurricane making landfall this year: East Coast/Florida, 48%; Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle to Brownsville, Texas, 47%. Electrical power utilities and providers, acutely aware of the risks of another active “megastorm” season, are still in the throes of assessing lessons learned during last October’s Hurricane Sandy to help them more effectively plan and prepare. Some utilities and grid operators say relatively new technologies helped them quickly attain and analyze more detailed information  about outages and the extent of damages, including mobile devices in the field tapping information from smart grid systems, smart meters and geographic information systems, as well as more sophisticated monitoring and control capabilities of transmission and generation equipment. This data enabled responders to better pinpoint outages and understand what equipment was needed to make repairs. Another observation from Sandy comes from Jeanne M. Fox, commissioner with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. She says, of New Jersey’s 19,000 solar installations which currently generate more than one percent of the state’s electricity, no significant solar panel damage was sustained during Hurricane Irene or Hurricane Sandy, even to some panels that were on buildings that were destroyed. This compared to 9,000 downed utility poles. Fox notes that with smart grid systems, some design changes to the state’s 1 gigawatt of installed solar (with more being planned), could enable solar to be part of a storm emergency response solution, as well as a green energy supplier to residents of New Jersey. (

Healthcare Services Now Available at Walgreens, CVS and Target

minute clinic

Amid continuing concerns about healthcare costs and a potential shortage of primary care doctors, Walgreens announced this month that it is expanding its healthcare services to include diagnosing and treating patients for chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes and high cholesterol. Other retail clinics, such as those at Walmart, CVS and Target stores already assist customers with managing chronic illnesses.  Walgreens says it has more than 300 Take Care Clinics operating in 18 states and the District of Columbia that employ nurse practitioners and physician assistants who will now conduct tests and make diagnoses, and also write prescriptions, refer patients for additional tests and help them manage their conditions. Such retail clinics appeal to customers looking for convenience and cost savings. Cost savings are about 30% – 40% less than similar care at doctor’s offices and 80% cheaper than at an (often over-burdened) emergency room, according to a study published in the American Journal of Managed Care. A New York Times article noted recently that contrary to what many believe, the rising use of emergency rooms for routine medical issues is not a result of poor people without insurance; the biggest increase involves the middle-class patients whose personal physicians could not be reached when they needed care. A New England Healthcare Institute report found overuse of emergency rooms is responsible for $38 billion in wasteful spending and that 56% of all visits could be avoided. According to Walgreens, physicians will help oversee its clinics. In addition, clinics are working to affiliate with or link to doctors’ offices, and even refer patients to doctors, when necessary or requested. Walgreens also operates about 350 health clinics at worksites which are paid for by employers. (



Business to Business

  • 43% of B2B marketers say improving customer engagement is their most important objective. 37% say increase website traffic, 34% say increase content reach, 29% say increase lead quality and 27% say increase lead quantity. (
  • More than three-quarters of U.S. men (78%) have stolen small office supplies such as envelopes or paper clips from their workplaces. (AskMen; 415-896-3700)
  • More than eight in 10 Americans ages 35-54 (86%) will choose to shop at a store offering free WIFI over one that doesn’t offer it. (JiWire; 415-821-8600)
  • B2B buyers are most likely to share useful vendor content via email (79%), followed by LinkedIn (53%), Twitter (39%) and Facebook (18%). (Earnest Agency)
  • Just 4% of marketers said their companies were “very effective” at measuring social marketing in 2012. While 47% felt somewhat good at social measurement in 2011, just 38% said the same in 2012. “Nearly half of respondents (47%) feel they or their companies are either not very good at social marketing measurement, or do not measure well at all.” (Marketing Charts)

 Brand Strategy

  • Al Pacino’s face was the original homepage of Facebook. Prior to a major homepage redesign back in 2007, Facebook’s front page used to feature a man’s face partly obscured behind a cloud of binary code. Dubbed the “Facebook guy”, it was not known who the mystery man was until it was recently revealed in David Kirkpatrick’s book The Facebook Effect that the image is a manipulated photo of Al Pacino created by a friend and classmate of Mark Zuckerberg. (
  • More than half of Americans who own smartphones and/or tablets (55%) trust advice they find online more than advice from their parents. (Citrix; 408-790-8542)
  • Tablet owners will spend $3 billion annually on purchases made in gaming apps by 2016. (Juniper Research; 408-716-5483)
  • While 76% of marketers believe they know what their consumers want in terms of social media content and interaction, only 34% have actually asked those buyers. On the B2C side, there is a disconnect between what marketers think consumers think is important and what they actually value. Marketers believe the highest consumer priorities on social media are insights for buying decisions (59%) and customer service (58%). Consumers actually place the highest value on deals and promotions (83%) and rewards programs (70%). (
  • Despite growing interest in the concept of social business, less than 20% of U.S. companies have integrated social media with their customer service, sales, or product development processes. (eMarketer)


  • Only 28% of Americans say dealing with global warming is a top priority for the president and Congress this year, little changed from the 30% that said this in 2009. (
  • About half (48%) of Americans favor the increased use of the fracking process, a drilling method that uses high-pressure water and chemicals to extract oil and natural gas from underground rock formations, while 38% are opposed. (
  • By a wide margin, 70% – 23%, American voters support building the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline that would transport oil from Canada to refineries in the U. S. (
  • Six in 10 consumers (60%) believe products’ claims of environmental friendliness are often exaggerated or misleading. (BrandSpark; 647-727-4578)
  • More than half of consumers worldwide (55%) are willing to pay more for products in environmentally friendly packaging. (Ipsos InnoQuest; 516-507-3515)
  • Each year, approximately 10 tropical storms form over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, and out of these, six become hurricanes. Approximately five hurricanes strike the U.S. coastline during an average three-year period, and of these, two are major hurricanes over 110 miles per hour. (


  • More than a quarter of Americans (26%) have government-based health insurance, including Medicare, Medicaid, and military benefits. (Gallup; 202-715-3030)
  • Almost four in 10 Americans (39%) say more than a quarter of the food they eat is gluten-free. (The Hartman Group; 425-452-0818)
  • More than 1,350 healthcare clinics can be found in drugstore and retail settings nationwide, and the country’s largest retail clinic chain, CVS Caremark MinuteClinic, plans to add 100 new clinics every year for the next few years. (
  • More than a quarter of Americans who buy vitamins and supplements (28%) get most of their information about these products from friends and relatives rather than doctors or pharmacists. (AccentHealth; 813-349-7100)
  • The Mayo Clinic started the Center for Social Media in July 2010, unofficially becoming the global face of social media for the healthcare industry. Since its creation, the center has accumulated more than 140 member organizations worldwide. The Mayo clinic has a simple 12 word social media policy: “Don’t Lie, Don’t Pry, Don’t Cheat, Can’t Delete, Don’t Steal, Don’t Reveal”. (

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